The Warrior’s Innocent Captive
An impossible choice:
His family or love
As steward to the Earl of Borwyn, Erik Ward had only admired sheltered noblewoman Linota Leofric from afar – until he has to escort her on a dangerous journey. When she’s kidnapped, he rescues the courageous beauty, revelling in finally having her in his arms. But Erik has a secret plan to reunite his family – now he’s forced to choose between that and his growing feelings for Linota…
Ella Matthews lives and works in beautiful South Wales. When not thinking about handsome heroes she can be found walking along the coast with her husband and their two children (probably still thinking about heroes but at least pretending to be interested in everyone else).
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Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: N/A – but this is the 3rd book about the Leofric Siblings
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Erik Ward first sees Linota Leofric at the Ogmore fortress when he attends the wedding of her brother to Ogmore’s daughter and is immediately smitten, he even thinks that due to her unfortunate circumstances, she might consider his suit. But when the earl requests a meeting with Erik’s best friend and liege Jarin Ashdown, the Earl of Borwyn, Erik’s hopes of the wedding of the lovely Linota are dashed. Jarin was supposed to wed Ogmore’s daughter and Ogmore has offered Jarin an olive branch – by asking him to escort Braedan’s sisters to Castle Swein. Ogmore tells Jarin that he has given both sisters a dowry equal to his daughter’s and since he considers the girls’ family, will also be an ally to anyone that weds them. Jardin needs the money and the support of Ogmore, so he agrees and Erik is sure that Jardin will choose Linota, the younger, more beautiful sister. Later that night, Erik is approached by the steward to one of Jardin’s enemies and asked to betray Jardin – at first, he is opposed but when Simon de Bevoir tells him that his beloved sister Mary is dead and that de Bevoir has her daughter Isabel and he will only return her to Erik if he helps him, Erik is given an impossible choice and agrees to give him the names of men who would be open to bribes and will ensure the journey to Swein takes as long as possible. But when Linota is abducted – Erik can’t stand by and do anything.
Linota Leofric has spent the last eight years as a virtual prisoner in Ogmore’s home – Ogmore offered them a home after they were left homeless when her father was executed for treason. She is looking forward to a new future now that she and her sister Katherine are finally free of their abusive mother. She has no idea that Ogmore has given her a dowry, but she is aware that her sister wants her to marry well and thinks that Jardin is perfect for her – Linota likes Jardin, but it is Erik that makes her heart beat faster and makes her dream of a future. However, Erik is rumored to be illegitimate and unacknowledged, so she doesn’t think her family will approve and resigns herself to a loveless marriage. But when she is abducted and Erik saves her, she wonders if HEA is now a possibility, that is until she learns of his lies and betrayal – will she be able to forgive him, or is their’s a love that is not meant to be?
This story runs pretty much concurrently with the previous book in the series, but unlike the previous book, the author gives the reader many more details about the sister’s past and honestly, it made a huge difference to me – in the last story I felt lost and befuddled, but now that I know how they came to be at Ogmore and why – the sisters’ actions and decisions made so much more sense and I was able to connect with Linota’s character in a way I couldn’t with Katherine. This book was a much more enjoyable read and even though it has the same timeline, it is a totally different story than the previous book. I loved Erik and my heart broke for the choices he had to make and the guilt that weighed on him. I also enjoyed seeing Linota’s character grow and mature as the story progressed. The book has a lot to offer a reader, betrayal, secrets, action, lies, mild love scenes, heartbreak, surprises, and finally a HEA. My only qualm with this book would be that I wish the epilogue had been set a bit later in time and given a glimpse of all the siblings’ HEAs. This is the final book in the trilogy and in my opinion the best of the series, I enjoyed this story and am happy to recommend it.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own. *